The head of the union representing transit workers in Guelph says the current lockout of staff by the city could carry on until mid-November after a new council is elected in a municipal election on Oct. 27.
Andrew Cleary, the president and business agent of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189, made the prediction in an email to CBC News.
"It looks like we may be out till mid November as this Mayor and council have made their decision to lock us out and wait to hear from us," wrote Cleary. "We had a vote that turned down overwhelmingly a contract offer. The new mayor and council will be elected and installed in October."
Cleary did not elaborate further, and did not answer phone calls requesting further comment.
Ann Pappert, Guelph's chief administrative officer, responded to the email saying it was "pure speculation".
"We'd like to see this resolved as soon as possible," said Pappert. "We'd really like clarity from the union on its priorities."
"We're hearing, at one point, it's about washrooms. Then we're hearing it's about bathroom breaks, not the facilities," she said, listing issues that were brought up in negotiations. "Then we're hearing it's not about salaries. Then we're hearing it is about salaries."
This is the second offer rejected by the union. Ninety-four per cent of those who voted on the first offer on July 11 rejected it.
The city and the union executive subsequently struck a tentative agreement on a new contract. While it's not clear what percentage of members rejected the tentative agreement, Cleary has called the margin "overwhelming."